While most people are perfectly content with driving the aesthetic equivalent of a rolling dishwasher, car enthusiasts are the wonderful outliers. That’s why last week I asked you to find the most beautiful cars under a 10 grand budget, and deliver you did. Oh my.
10. 1998 Lincoln Mark VIII LSC
The more I look at this Lincoln Mark VIII, the more it grows on me and the less I can look away. Not only is this car ahead of its model year in terms of design, but it’s one of the most comfortable cars on this list. It’s remarkably concept car-ish in its execution and there’s very little that looks like an afterthought or compromise. For the price, it’s a lot of pretty.
(Suggested by Dy-no-mite Jay)
9. 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL500
There’s something to be said about a design that hadn’t changed for a decade and is still revered as forward-thinking and desirable to this day. This Mercedes-Benz SL500 is a car with such a design, from its angular, designed-in-the-‘80s-for-the-‘90s lines to its bulletproof V8 engine, it’s one of the most striking cars you can buy currently for an amazing price, built with actual German precision, not whatever fluff they’re trying to pass off as reliability nowadays.
(Suggested by Arrivederci)
8. 1988 Alfa Romeo Spider
The Alfa Romeo Spider, also known on Craigslist as the Alpha Romero Spyder, is one of those cars that you want even though it’s slow, probably unreliable, and not particularly good looking in any conventional sense, although it is one of the most visually avant garde cars you can buy under the meager budget. It’s a car that says certain things about you in a loud and boisterous Italian accent, and that’s something that any car you buy today simply can’t do.
(Suggested by golfball)
7. 2003 BMW 540i MSport
It’s one of the most timeless and beautiful designs of the late 90’s/early 2000’s. This one is a 2003 540i M-Sport, which has the desirable M-Par wheels, black interior, black headliner, M-tech bumpers, and M5-style black trim all around the body. It has 95,000 miles and has service records. If I didn’t already have two 540i’s, I would buy this one in a heartbeat! The buy-it-now is $9,200, and the current bidding is at $8,100. With this car, you get all the style of an M5, but with a fraction of the maintenance costs. You can buy oil for it at Walmart, and with the relatively low mileage on this car you can enjoy it for many years before having to do any major work on it. Parts are cheap and there’s a massive community around it, so you’ll be in good hands. AND JUST LOOK AT IT
(Suggested by dannyzabolotny)
6. 1972 Datsun 240z
The Datsun 240z is one of those rare classics that you’ll remember in five years as “The one that I could’ve bought for less than ten grand.” With the resurgence of nostalgic automotive design, the 240z stands as an awesome first try at making a small, efficient sports car by Nissan, and it still fits the bill to this day. Plus, this one’s orange, which is just better.
(Suggested by nerd_racing)
5. 1999 Jaguar XK8
The Jaguar XK8 is the car that combines the streamlined look of UK in the late ‘90s and the mass appeal of the hand-built wrought iron gate entrance to your Victorian estate. It’s the embodiment of class, even if it isn’t the most reliable thing in the world. That’s some else’s problem. This car is damn beautiful, Jeeves. Now kindly fetch the lady of the house, we’re going out.
(Suggested by Arrivederci)
4. 1974 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray
The C3 Corvette was one of the muscle cars most hit by the strict emissions of the 1970s, the latest examples producing less than 200 horsepower, which a hilarious disgrace to the namesake. But that didn’t matter, because the car was, and still is ridiculously good looking. I’d pick one up, transplant a brand new GM crate engine and running gear, and have a resto-mod that would put anything on the Velocity channel to shame.
(Suggested by ezeolla)
3. 1996 Chevrolet Corvette
Two corvettes in the same list? You want to speak to the manager? I am the manager. Just sit and listen. The C4 Corvette had a production run that lasted mroe than a decade with very minor tweaks in body design because it worked. It’s still got a reverse flip up nosecone like some sort of fancypants Italian supercar and it has an exhaust note that could, with some breathing mods, bring out the devil in anyone. It’s not a timeless design but it’s exactly what you’d look for if you wanted iconic beauty.
(Suggested by Buzz Killington)
2. 2011 Saab 9-5
When a car company goes out of business, it usually puts its best foot forward, as a beautiful last hurrah before the behemoth exhales for the last time. For Saab, it was the stylish sedan known as the 9-5. Not only is this one of the most streamlined and aesthetically simple cars on the market, it’s a car that’s unmistakeable for anything else, so it’s not going to get lost in a sea of Hyundais and Toyotas any time soon. You can rejoice in the fact that underneath, it has familiar GM architecture and is reasonably reliable. This degree of rarity and beauty at this price is very hard to beat.
(Suggested by tehkav)
1. 1994 BMW 840ci
The BMW 840ci is one of those cars that is passed on by absolutely everyone because of its seemingly complex mechanic elements, but will be coveted by the next generation as the next E30 M3. I’m not sure why these cars aren’t all being hoarded by greedy collectors that don’t trust banks anymore, because if I was Scrooge McDuck, that’s all I would do. It’s a gorgeous BMW with bespoke everything. It’s the grand tourer that they’ve never bothered to make again, so now’s the time to buy this gem that’s getting rarer by the second.
(Suggested by Too tall for my ST)
Tavarish is the founder of APiDA Online and writes and makes videos aboutbuying and selling cool cars on the internet. He owns the world’s cheapestMercedes S-Class, a graffiti-bombed Lexus, and he’s the only Jalopnik author that has never driven a Miata.